* Trigger Warning *
“Why do you keep posting those stupid numbers?”
This was the question —
I hope you’re reading this to get your answer you idiot !!
The first time I ever punched someone in the face I was in first grade. I would like to say it was the last, but I grew up in a manner in which fighting was often necessary. That first time though, I have not thought about in years, until recently ….
It was an older girl that I punched. She must have been in the third or four grade. We were on the bus and she was making fun of me. She often did. I was bullied alot. I was a quiet little ragamuffin, just a tiny scrawny little thing.
I suppose I was an easy target. She was making fun of my teeth, I remember that. Telling me they were yellow and asking why I couldn’t afford a toothbrush. Then she started in on my clothes, laughing about how dirty they were, how my socks didn’t match, and saying that I smelled funny. Just mocking and accusing.
My parents wouldn’t attend to much of anything, much less washing clothes.
“He” only invested in what pleased his drinking buddies and his flesh, and “she” spent too much time hiding behind the cloud of addiction to care. I tried my best as I grew older to do those things, actually having to raise myself, but I was never taught how to wash clothes, cook, or care for my body. And to this day one of the reasons I am anal about cleanliness and obsessively manic in my ways, and my photos seldom show a smile.
I didn’t punch her because she said I smelled or made fun of my teeth. I punched her when she said something about my mom. Called her a name that I didn’t even understand then, but I knew it was bad. She was making fun of my mom, who had just been hauled off to jail a few weeks previous. Taken away by two tall men in suits that knocked on the door three days before Christmas…. I let them in.
I watched as they put her in handcuffs in front of me and I remember screaming and crying, begging those men not to take my mommy away. Asking why they were doing it. And worse, knowing what was about to take place being left all alone again with “him” …..
The girl I punched in the face of course punched me back. With quite a bit of force too. We were both suspended for a week. And it wasn’t long after that my mom started keeping me out of school. Not because of the incident, but because she just didn’t want to bathe me or make sure I had clean clothes. It has taken me fifty five years to figure out that my dad probably at some point in time had hurt that girl and that she was making fun of me to ease some pain he had inflicted.
Many of these memories, these connections, I never would have even thought about them if I was not doing the work I’m doing now in trying to heal. I have always had just vague whispers in my brain of some of my experiences, like that mean girl I punched that time. The girl that was in just as much pain as I was, and who I’m sure still is, just as I know I still am.
Thinking about these things hurt and they open up faucets in our minds that may be easier not to turn on, but in a way, I’m grateful I can think about it now and see it differently as an adult and understand better what I could not understand as a child. A child cannot comprehend reasoning, but pain is easily understood.
That is how we make this madness stop. How cycles of violence and hurt can be broken. Acknowledge, recognize and know that children are hurting everywhere because of this and that, and kids who are hurting, hurt other kids, just as children who are abused often grow up to become abusers. Physically, emotionally or sexually; God forbid, in ways some of us are all far too familiar with.
What transpired in the days to follow that particular Christmas are too grotesque and horrific to even speak of, but has left me with a wounded soul, and an indelible scar on my heart that has never healed, and has been my greatest issue with PTSD concerning Christmas. I hadn’t remembered that girl or that whopping blow to her face until this week, but every year as Christmas rolls around I am triggered. Flashbacks with full body sensations assault my senses and nightmares come in vivid color. The smell of pine, the sound of tinkling bells, and who can avoid seeing a Christmas tree in this season??? What brings joy to most ensues pain to me, and creates my moodiness some of you see….
This is why sharing those suicide hotline numbers are important. I attempted suicide five times in my life, and three were around Christmas. No one can know what someone may be going through or the pain hiding behind a smile. It’s important to always be mindful of others, everyday, but especially around holidays. Many are alone on Thanksgiving, as I was, and many other holidays are big triggers for trauma survivors. Sometimes life is a struggle every single day for some, even just to breathe and get through a day, an hour, a moment ….
I don’t share any of this to gain any pity or any thing for myself, but I was asked recently why I keep posting those stupid hotline numbers? This is just one reason. And to that insolent idiot that asked, and made the rude comments concerning me -God bless you. There but for the grace of God, it could be you
Sometimes I am just scrolling the FB pages just to distract my mind from the churning memories trying to swallow me up. If another is doing the same thing, drowning in the same emotions, and sitting there thinking, “what’s the use” and contemplating ending it all to simply stop the pain, and then scrolls past those numbers; it just might save a life …. You just never know.
I am usually pretty open about sharing my testimony to a degree, although I don’t talk alot about my past childhood these days because I’ve had it used against me. But if I can help any woman by sharing my experience, strength and hope; then let it be so and I count the cost as part of my cross and may my Lord be glorified. It is only because of Him that I made it through from a survivor to the place of a warrior that I am becomming. In His infinite love He spared me all those years of trauma, demoralization, and self inflicted attempts to destroy myself, patiently waiting on me for a time such as this. This is my hope. I don’t know why a loving God would allow an innocent child to suffer, or why He allows any suffering of innocents, but I believe it is for a greater purpose which may not be revealed in this lifetime. Yet, will I trust Him and follow Him, because He has saved me, redeemed me, and is healing me a little more daily, and each year I see a little more growth.
I give all glory to my Saviour Jesus Christ. In Him alone is my value found. I thank Him for giving me beauty for my ashes and restoration for my soul….